During divorce proceedings, both spouses are expected to be open about their assets and debts. Unfortunately, this does not always occur. If you believe your spouse is hiding finances from you, you have legal options.
What Legal Options Can You Use to Find Assets?
Finding hidden assets and debts can be difficult, but you have one particular legal tool at your disposal that can be beneficial to you. Your divorce attorney can submit a formal request to the court during the discovery process. As a result of the request, a judge can order your spouse to produce all financial documents.
Ideally, the order would be enough for your spouse to turn over all of his or her financial records, but if this does not happen, you can search the records you do receive for clues about hidden finances. Your spouse's tax return is the first place to start.
What Should You Look for in the Tax Return?
Even if your spouse has been less than honest with you about his or her finances, it is unlikely that he or she would attempt to hide the same information from the Internal Revenue Service. When looking at the tax return, start with the income from wages and retirement plan distributions. If your spouse is earning more than he or she reported or you notice distributions from the retirement plan you were unaware of, you have most likely hit on a source of hidden assets.
There are other areas of the return that could give you clues about hidden finances. For instance, if your spouse has expenses listed from a financial planner or tax consultant listed under miscellaneous deductions and you were unaware of those consultations, ask questions. It is possible your spouse has hidden assets, such as a trust.
What If You Suspect There Is a Hidden Bank Account?
It is not uncommon for spouses who are seeking to hide finances to open a separate bank account at another bank. If you believe your spouse has another account and have an idea of which bank, your attorney can ask the court to issue a subpoena to the bank. The bank will have to turn over certain financial records.
You should also look at the tax return for a hidden bank account. If your spouse received a tax refund, pay attention to the account used to accept the refund. If it is unfamiliar to you, the court can require your spouse to provide banking information for the account.
There are many other ways you can search for hidden finances. An experienced divorce attorney has the experience and familiarity with state laws to help you take the legal actions necessary.
For professional legal help, contact a law firm such as Eschbacher Law.